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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 10, 2003

State to pay $600,000 in car crash settlement

By Johnny Brannon
Advertiser Staff Writer

The state plans to pay $600,000 to settle two lawsuits stemming from a three-vehicle traffic accident that left two Chaminade University freshmen dead and two classmates injured in 1999.

The students were on their way to the North Shore for a day at the beach when their sedan collided with a pickup truck driven by an Army officer from Schofield Barracks, which is just south of the crash site. The impact sent the sedan hurtling into a coupe driven by another soldier.

The families of two of the students — one who died and one who was badly injured — charged that the state knew the intersection of Wilikina Drive and Kamananui Road in Wahiawa was dangerous and should have installed a traffic light.

Hundreds of accidents had occurred there in the past, according to court documents. The Department of Transportation had begun planning a range of improvements, including the installation of traffic signs and signals, at the time of the crash. The work was expected to cost $139,000.

Killed were Arisa J. San Nicolas, 18, of Guam, whose parents were plaintiffs in one of the suits against the state; and Charles LaMarsh, 18, of Oregon. Both were seated on the right side of the students' car, the side of the impact. The state plans to pay San Nicolas' family $350,000.

Injured were the driver of that car, Michael Ahakuelo, then 18, and Aaron Hashimoto, then also 18, whose parents filed the second suit against the state. They will receive $250,000 under the settlement.

The driver of the pickup was Capt. Russell Oakes Jr., then 32. The driver of the third vehicle was Steven Cline, then 26. Neither was seriously hurt.